Sources of Excellence
A new distillery and visitor experience, a new vision for the future
A bold vision of innovation, collaboration, and a refusal to compromise
When we set out to build a new brand home for The Macallan, our vision was to create a distillery and visitor experience as exceptional as the whisky itself.
Everything worth something in life usually involves risk and sacrifice – the boldness to think outside of the box and challenge traditional thinking. This mindset is at the core of everything we do. It’s why, when the idea of building a brand new distillery instead of just expanding the current facility was broached, it was deliberately considered and then embraced wholeheartedly. We saw a glimpse of what the future could be and made the decision to give The Macallan a home worthy of the spirit it embodies.
Starting from scratch gave us the opportunity to take things to a whole new level – allowing us to challenge notions of what a Scottish whisky distillery looks like and to reimagine the design in a way that’s beyond anything yet thought of. Just as with anything worth pursuing, this was an investment in our future and each aspect – from the planning, to materials, to build– was intentional. It was a decision to be bold, brave and look far beyond tomorrow.
No one person or company who takes pride in what they do has the luxury of easy decisions. No decision like this comes easily. We weigh every action. Everything comes from a place of integrity, from our values to our vision. So we had to be sure, and then we had to commit.
In the plan and throughout the build there was no room for compromise. The plan for the new distillery and visitor experience was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014. From the beginning it was a project of collaboration: the concept was designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners who embodied the care, passion and superior craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of The Macallan. Elgin-based Robertson Construction delivered the complex architectural design, working with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life. Commissioned with building the new stills was Forsyths; world leaders in distillation equipment supply, who’ve been working with us to make our curiously small stills since the 1950s.
The roof is an illustration of The Macallan’s commitment to excellence: the individual components include 2,500 triangles, each of which comprises 50 different parts customised to cover and protect the unique elements of the distillery that sit underneath. We sourced our wood from Scandinavia, sanded it in Germany, shipped it to Austria for assembly and then moved to its final destination in Speyside. In each step of construction we sought out master craftsmen and women to partner with. Every detail was scrutinised.
The Distillery in Numbers:
During construction, up to 400 people specialising in over 20 different trades were employed on site
£140m was invested and 60 new jobs created
The project took three years and six months to complete (Dec 2014 – May 2018)
The roof is one of the most complicated timber structures in the world, comprising 1,800 single beams, 2,500 different roof elements, and 380,000 individual components
Natural materials – local stone, timber and the living meadow roof – as well as the landscaping design not only evoke the environment and ingredients of whisky production, but also serve to provide an atmospheric journey for the visitor. A number of specialist consultants were appointed to support the interior fit out including architects Atelier Bruckner, hospitality experts Concept Bars and leading designers Modo+.
At the heart of every decision was the desire to preserve and innovate.
We still use the same spring water, curiously small stills and processes to create the distinctive flavor and character of our single malt whisky. Located on the stunning Easter Elchies estate, which has been home to the leading luxury single malt since 1824, the new distillery represents an exciting new chapter in The Macallan’s illustrious history, and sets the standard for everything we do going forward.